RESTORE News

December '11

RESTORE presents research at AGU Fall Meeting
A number of RESTORE members are headed to the largest academic conference in the field to present their research, including invited, oral and poster presentations:

  • Non-Equilibrium Capillarity Effects - Insights from REV and pore scale experiments (invited talk by D. O'Carroll)
  • A field scale study of nZVI Mobility (D. O'Carroll)
  • Combined Influences of Tides and Seasonal Inland Groundwater Fluctuations on Aquifer-Ocean Exchange in an Unconfined Coastal Aquifer (talk co-authored by C. Robinson)
  • Influence of tides on the transport and fate of groundwater-derived nutrients to coastal waters (C. Robinson)
  • Effect of heterogeneity on enhanced reductive dechlorination: Analysis of remediation efficiency and groundwater acidification (co-authored by C. Robinson & J. Gerhard)
  • Impact of Subsurface Heterogeneities on nano-Scale Zero Valent Iron Transport (M. Krol)
  • Mapping Site Remediation with Electrical Resistivity Tomography Explored via Coupled-Model Simulations (C. Power)
  • Exploring the use of synchrotron radiation to image silver nanoparticles in a porous media (I. Molnar)

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November '11

RESTORE presents work in Florida
RESTORE co-director Dr. Clare Robinson and Masters student Nawrin Anwar attended the 21st Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) in Daytona Beach, Florida. Dr. Robinson gave an oral presentation entitled 'Dynamic effects of oceanic forcing on flow and transport in a subterranean estuary', while Nawrin presented her work entitled 'Nutrient transport and transformation in a tidally influenced subterranean estuary: Model Development'.

RESTORE at the Para Pan American Games
RESTORE undergraduate student Simon Hodge travelled to Mexico with the Canadian Paralympic Athletics team to compete at the 2011 Para Pan American Games. Simon ran as a guide for Jacqueline Rennebohm - a visually impaired sprinter, and fellow Western Mustang track athlete. They had a fantastic experience, and finished 6th in both the 100 and 200 metres. Simon also ran in the 5000 metres as guide for Jason Dunkerley, another visually-impaired athlete whose typical guide runner injured himself days before competition. Jason showed why he's one of the best runners in the world, winning a bronze medal, and earning them a spot on the podium to receive a medal in a stadium full of 15,000 cheering fans (see figure below). Simon will continue to run as they take another step towards the 2012 Paralympics.

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September '11

Dr. Gerhard Down Under
RESTORE co-director Dr. Jason Gerhard is undertaking a 4-month research visit to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia). As a guest of Dr. Ling Li, he is coupling his multiphase flow expertise to their expertise in coastal hydrodynamics to collaborate on innovative modelling and experiments studying the air/water interface.

Dr. Robinson presents work in Indiana
RESTORE co-director Dr. Clare Robinson attended the Great Lake Beach Association (GLBA) conference in Michigan city, Indiana where she gave an oral presentation entitled "Importance of dynamic groundwater-lake interactions on beach water quality" and a poster presentation "Nutrients and heavy metal concentrations in the groundwater at beaches of the Great Lakes".

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August '11

NSERC Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship
Christopher Power (Ph.D.) was awarded an NSERC Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship (IPS). SiREM are sponsoring the scholarship, and as part of the scholarship, Christopher will be spending time working for the company. The collaborative project will help evaluate and develop geoelectrical methods for detecting and mapping subsurface contamination and remediation.

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July '11

RESTORE Successful in Large, Collaborative Grant for Innovative Remediation Technologies
Drs. Gerhard and O'Carroll are lead Principal Investigators, in collaboration with Brent Sleep and other researchers from University of Toronto and Queen's University, in the recently announced Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence Water Round. The interdisciplinary project, entitled "Innovative Combined Treatment Technologies for Remediating Contaminated Groundwater" has been awarded $3.2M from 2011 - 2016 from by Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation; approximately 50% of the total award is for work led by RESTORE. This is in addition to the approximately $4M of industrial cash and in-kind committed to the project by key RESTORE industrial collaborators CH2MHill and Geosyntec Consultants, as well as valuable contributions from numerous other corporate and institutional partners. This grant, the highest awarded to an academic-led proposal, will support a significant number of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers working at, and in collaboration with, RESTORE over the next five years on innovative remediation technologies.

Western Partnering with University of Toronto on Smouldering Toilet
Cheap, waterless toilets that can turn human waste into clean water and fertilizer within 24 hours are being designed and built by eight engineering teams around the world, including one from Canada. The Gates Foundation awarded a collaborative team led by University of Toronto $400,000 to develop a prototype toilet that aims to revolutionize waste treatment in the developing world, thereby protecting the environment and reducing disease. Dr. Jason Gerhard and Jose Torero (University of Edinburgh) are collaborators on a University of Toronto project, which utilizes a reactor to destroy waste via smouldering: a process that, together, RESTORE and University of Edinburgh have proven to be a self-sustaining process for destroying contaminants in the STAR project (www.siremlab.com/star). Significant media attention has surrounded the announcement of the awards made by the Gates Foundation:

Article: Revolutionary toilet could change the world
Article: 'Magic' toilet research funded by Bill Gates Foundation
Article: Gates Foundation: "We need to reinvent the toilet"
Article: Scholars work to build a better toilet

Dr. O'Carroll Down Under
RESTORE co-director Dr. Denis O'Carroll is welcomed at University of New South Wales (Australia) where he is spending 12 months as a Visiting Professor. Dr. O'Carroll is using his sabbatical to develop collaborative research with the well regarded water research group at UNSW while continuing to advance his ongoing RESTORE projects.

Green Roof Research
BESc 4th year student Kristina Nangle is working in collaboration with Drs. Magdalena Krol, Chris Smart and Denis O'Carroll to determine a water balance model for the CMLP's green roof. The key interests are quantifying the green roof's ability to attenuate and reduce storm water runoff. Among the instrumentation being used on the roof is the currently under construction green roof test cell that will utilize five lysimeters to compare the performance of soil covered with plants and bare soil. BESc 4th year student Phil Santana has also started work on the green roof. His focus is the green roof's energy balance and he will also be utilizing the green roof test cell to quantify the role plants play in keeping the roof cool during the warm months.

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June '11

RESTORE Welcomes New Research Assistant
Dr. Richard Liu (PhD, Auburn University) has joined RESTORE as a research assistant. Richard has extensive experience with metals in soils and nanotechnology, which he brings to the STAR and nZVI projects. Richard has more than 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including first-author publications in Chemosphere and Environmental Science and Technology.

RESTORE Welcomes Back Post-Doctoral Fellow
RESTORE is very pleased to welcome back Dr. Nataphan Sakulchaicharoen (Phd, University of Oklahoma) after her maternity leave. Mai continues to be a core team member on the nZVI project, synthesizing innovative nanoparticles for a variety of laboratory and field-based remediation trials.

Congratulations to RESTORE Graduate Entering Industry
RESTORE MESc graduate Stephanie Drake, who recently completed her graduate degree on the wettability of diesel fuel in the subsurface, was recruited by consultant Worley Parsons in Calgary in the Site Remediation group.

Dr. Jason Gerhard in Swtizerland
RESTORE co-director Jason Gerhard recently completed four months as a Visiting Professor at École Polytechnique Féderale de Lausanne. He was a guest of Prof. Andrew Barry and the Ecological Engineering Research Laboratory where he had the pleasure of interacting with a wide array of outstanding faculty and graduate research students. On weekends, he conducted high-speed research on high-altitude precipitation in alpine environments.

Study at Argonne National Laboratories
PhD candidate Ian Molnar and BESc 4th year student Kristina Nangle travelled to Argonne National Laboratories to utilize the Advanced Photon Source as part of on-going research. An imaging technique known as x-ray microtomography was used to detect the presence of silver nanoparticles and their preferential flow paths through various types of porous media.

Nanometals for Source Zone Remediation Meeting
A meeting was held at the University of Western Ontario to discuss recent progress related to Nanometals for Source Zone Remediation. The meeting was well attended by many industry partners including CH2M Hill Canada Ltd., Geosyntec Consultants Inc., and AMEC Geomatrix. Students and fellows in RESTORE, as well as students from the University of Toronto, presented their recent advances in nZVI research followed by discussion of the future work and direction on the emerging technology. The meeting highlighted some of the exciting fundamental work being done within the group and also reviewed several recent field trials that provided successful results due to the collaborative effort of the supporting organizations. Other partners in attendance included Forces Canada, Dow Chemical, Royal Military Collage, and the University of Guelph.

NEW Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions Laboratory
Renovations have been completed for a new RESTORE laboratory that will be used to conduct leading research on groundwater-surface water interactions. The laboratory will be equipped with cutting-edge infrastructure from a $557,000 CFI grant (Leaders of Opportunity Fund) awarded to Dr. Robinson.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship Award
We are pleased to announce that PhD student Ian Molnar has recently been awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship to fund his studies on the fate of engineered nanoparticles in the subsurface.

85th ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium
RESTORE's strong nZVI work was presented at the 85th ACD Colloid and Surface Science Symposium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada:

  • Nanometal particle mobility, reaction, and characterization following field scale injection (C. M. Kocur, D. M. O'Carroll, A. I. Chowdhury, H.K. Boparai, N. Sakulchiacharoen, K. Weber, B. E. Sleep, M. Krol, L. Austrins and C. Peace)
  • Characterization, surface properties and reactivity of nano- and micro-scale zerovalent iron (H K Boparai, A.I.A. Chowdhury and D. M. O'Carroll)
  • Challenges and opportunities of electrokinetics for enhanced NZVI delivery through porous media (A. I.A. Chowdhury, D. M. O'Carroll, Y. Xu and B. E. Sleep)
  • Modelling field scale nano-zero valent iron transport (M. M. Krol, A. J. Oleniuk, D. M. O'Carroll and B. E. Sleep)
  • Transport and persistence of pathogens in beach sediment: Numerical investigation (K. P. Weber, D. M. O'Carroll, C. Robinson)

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May '11

RESTORE Welcomes 2 Summer Research Students
Kristina Nangle (3rd year Environmental Engineering) and Tarek Rashwan (2nd Year Environmental Engineering) are warmly welcomed to RESTORE. They each secured an NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA) which allows top undergraduate students to obtain first hand research experience. Kristina is leading the collection of data on green roof performance while Tarek is conducting research on the STAR remediation technology.

RESTORE wins Major Award for Teaching and Grad Student Mentoring
Dr. Denis O'Carroll, RESTORE co-director, was awarded the R. Mohan Mathur Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award is presented annually to an outstanding Western Engineering faculty member to recognize his or her exceptional contributions to University teaching and the promotion of academic excellence amongst our students. In announcing the award, the Dean of Engineering Andy Hrymak, said:
"Dr. O'Carroll has developed four courses since joining the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering which have strengthened the environmental engineering program both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Once of the courses was also introduced for the International Development option and has a strong focus on developing underserviced communities, both in Canada and abroad, a new emphasis for the Department and Faculty. As a part of this course, he developed a strong hands-on laboratory component and has introduced new equipment and testing methodologies.
Dr. O'Carroll coordinated multi-disciplinary 4th year student groups who proposed designs for the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion, the first 'green building' at the University. Many of the student designs were incorporated into the new building. In conjunction with Physical Plant, architects, and engineers, Dr. O'Carroll worked to develop the new building as a 'living laboratory'. He brought together many faculty members to explore and utilize the building as a teaching tool. His initiatives with the CMLP earned him the 2009 UWO Green Award.
In the past 5 years, Dr. O'Carroll has supervised/co-supervised 13 undergraduate (4th year projects, NSERC undergraduate research students), 14 masters, and 3 doctoral students as well as 7 postdoctoral fellows. In addition he has examined 28 graduate student theses and dissertations since 2006. Many of the undergraduate students he has supervised since joining the Department have stayed to complete a masters degree and Ph.D. , which is a testament to the overall positive experience they have had working with Dr. O'Carroll. He continues to achieve very high student evaluations in all his courses, in the top percentile amongst the Department and Faculty alike.
Dr. O'Carroll's on-going commitment to incorporating sustainability in environmental engineering, his innovative teaching methods and the advancement of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum at Western Engineering make him a very deserving recipient of the R. Mohan Mathur Award for Excellence in Teaching."

RESTORE student returns to Western from Louisiana State University
PhD student Ian Molnar has recently returned from a semester abroad at the Louisiana State University. While at LSU he was working under the guidance and supervision of Dr. Clint Willson, a professor known for employing synchrotron radiation to create high-resolution 3D maps of contaminants in model porous media. His time at LSU included work at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices as well as Mardi Gras and plenty of good Cajun food.

RESTORE Post-doctoral Researcher Starts Faculty Position
Kela Weber started as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) on 1 May 2011. RESTORE wishes him all the best with his faculty position.

2011 Ontario OWWA/OWMA Joint Annual Conference
Tanvir Hassan (M.E.Sc.) presented a paper titled "Effect of pH and disinfectant on lead dissolution in drinking water" at the 2011 OWWA/OWMA Joint Annual Conference, Blue Mountain, Ontario.

Regional Water Supply Research Day
Dr. Robinson and Dr. Herrera presented at the bi-annual Regional Water Supply Research Day on 31st May 2011 on Discharge of Industrial Contaminants to Surface Waters and implications for Source Water Protection Planning and the Dissolution of Lead in Drinking Water.

RESTORE Presents to Ministry of the Environment
Dr. Robinson was invited to present to the Ministry of the Environment (Drinking Water Inspection Branch) on 'Arsenic in Drinking Water and Mitigation Solutions'.

RESTORE student presents at Geosyntec Technical Seminar
Christopher Power (Ph.D.) presents a talk entitled "Non-Invasive Geophysical Techniques for Mapping DNAPL Presence and Mass Reduction" at Geosyntec Consultants' monthly technical seminar at their office in Guelph, Ontario.

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April '11

International Collaboration: Greece
RESTORE PhD student Christopher Power recently returned from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Christopher was invited to Greece by internationally renowed geophysics expert Dr Panagiotis Tsourlos to participate in archaeological investigations and geophysics seminars. Christopher's research is exploring geophysical tools that are commonly employed in other sectors, such as archaeology, for tracking contaminants in the subsurface.

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March '11

RESTORE Postdocs Become New Faculty Members
RESTORE is very pleased to congratulate former postdoctoral fellows Kevin Mumford and Prabhakar Sharma as they were recruited for faculty positions in the contaminant hydrogeology field. Kevin is an Assistant Professor at Queen's University (Canada) while Prabhakar is an Assistant Professor at Upsala University (Sweden).

Undergraduate Thesis Presentation Competition (2011)
RESTORE congratulates its undergraduate student Jessica Barker for winning the undergraduate thesis presentation competition with her presentation on 'Feasibility of Aquifer Storage and Recovery in the Coastal Areas of Bangladesh'. For first place, Jessica was awarded a trip to present at the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers Conference.

241st ACS National Meeting
RESTORE group members presented at the 241st American Chemical Society National Meeting in Anaheim, California, USA:

  • Impact of porous media grain size on multi-walled carbon nanotube transport (N. T. Mattison, D. M. O'Carroll and E. Petersen)
  • Impact of Cu on dechlorination of trichloroethylene by nano zerovalent iron (H.K. Boparai and D.M. O'Carroll)

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February '11

Congratulation to RESTORE Graduates
RESTORE is proud of recent MESc graduates Andrew Oleniuk, Ambareen Atisha, Stephanie Drake, and Nikkolai Mattison. All successfully defended their theses on a range of topics from numerical modelling of contaminant dissolution to nanoparticle behaviour to the wettability of field diesel. We wish them all success as they progress into industry positions in the field.

STAR Remediation Technology Successful in Pilot Field Test
Self-Sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR) is the Western-led innovation in treatment of coal tar and petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. The new technique, based on smouldering combustion for in situ destruction, is being commercialized by technology vendor SiREM (Guelph, Canada). SiREM, in collaboration with Western and Geosyntec Consultants, completed a nine-well field trial to address coal tar contamination in a 18m x 6m x 3 m deep pilot test area. The test was very successful, with greater than 800 kg/day destroyed consistently during the middle of the test, and greater than 4500 kg of coal tar destroyed over the full 10 day test. Soil concentrations of coal tar were reduced 3 to 4 orders of magnitude and soil cores of the treated area exhibited concentrations below the criteria of the local regulatory authority. Further details can be obtained from www.siremlab.com/star or from Prof. Jason Gerhard (jgerhard@uwo.ca).

nZVI Trials by RESTORE
RESTORE has successfully undertaken two nZVI field trials in 2010 and 2011. The first field trial was carried out on a former chlorinated solvent production plant at Sarnia, Ontario, with assistance from CH2MHill. The second trial was carried out on a former maintenance unit of Department of National Defense (DND) at London, Ontario with support from DND, CH2MHill, and CBC Canada. Both of the field trials were successful in terms of large-scale onsite nZVI synthesis, injection and migration. The sites are currently under investigation for short and long term nZVI remediation performance.